Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful conditions. Particularly aggressive UTIs will require an antibiotic prescription to help clear it up, as well as drinking plenty of water. If you suspect you have a UTI you should visit your doctor immediately. However, what are the links between UTI’s, recurring UTIs and your Sexual Health?
Contracting A UTI
Bacteria present in the digestive system cause UTI’s. Most commonly they arise because the bacteria is spread from the anus to the urethra, the tube which urine comes out of. These bacteria will then cause the infection of the urethra. Sometimes this can be caused by toilet paper touching both areas, but this transfer of bacteria can also occur in sexual contact.
The infection can travel up the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder. In men it runs from the tip of the penis to the bladder. In women it runs from the bladder to between the vagina and clitoris. If the urethra becomes infected it is called urethritis. If the infection travels up the urethra to the bladder the infection is called cystitis. The infection can sometimes travel from the bladder up the ureters tubes into the kidneys. In this case the infection is called pyelonephritis.
UTI’s often occur in women when they have drunk a lot of alcohol and had a lot of sex. The infection occurs because alcohol in the bladder irritates the wall of the bladder from the inside. When intercourse occurs, if it is particularly prolonged or aggressive, or repetitive, it is irritating the bladder from the outside. In effect, your bladder is being aggravated on both sides and an infection is likely.
UTI’s And Contraceptives
If you are a woman and your preferred contraceptive are condoms combined with spermicide, you may find that you are more likely to contract a UTI, as spermicide can irritate the vagina and make it more vulnerable to infection, or even repeat infections.
Diaphragms are another form of contraceptive that can make women more susceptible to UTI’s, as a diaphragm can put pressure on the bladder and prevent it from emptying properly.
Women are also more likely to contract UTI’s than men because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus. Sex can also irritate the urethra, allowing bacteria to travel through it more easily and into the bladder.
If you are pregnant or have HIV, you may need hospital treatment if you contract a recurring upper UTI. You can also have recurring UTI’s merely from having sex because of the irritation it can cause in the urethra. If this is thought to be the cause of your recurring UTI, you may be prescribed antibiotics to take after each time you have sex.
UTI’s can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful. If you suffer recurring UTI’s it may be advisable to discuss your contraceptive options with your local Sexual Health Clinic or GP to investigate what other options will minimise the likelihood of contracting recurring UTI’s.
If you would like more information about our sexual health clinic, don’t hesitate to contact us today on 020 7382 0505.